Picture yourself working in a retail store. You try to maintain focus on the task at hand but something is eating away at you. You feel as though you are being watched by everyone. And perhaps those people you think are watching you think you are ugly, different or maybe they think you smell bad. You cant quite keep your thoughts straight. You are worried if someone approaches you, that you may say something awkward or wrong.
This may sound like some sort of nightmare but this is the reality of my social phobia. I know that I’m good looking, clean and fresh smelling. But yet I still carry these thoughts in my head when I’m put into a new social situation.
My husband reinforces my self image on a daily basis. He tells me how beautiful I am. And I know I’m not ugly, nor do I stink. But beautiful? I don’t see what he sees. My husband actually gets depressed about my poor self image and social anxiety disorder. The emotional impact of anxiety disorders can have a heavy toll on a relationship.
As a child I grew up being told I was ugly and nobody would ever love me. I suffered mental abuse that impacted me for life. And even though I have the love of wonderful man who cares for me deeply and I him, I still cannot escape my disorder. I have however learned to control it when I absolutely have to.
We don’t go out as a couple and do the things my husband enjoys because I couldn’t cope with a lot of people at once.
He is understanding of this now but it has caused misunderstandings and strains in our relationship when we were younger.
While he always saw a beautiful woman that he loved and adored with all his heart, I didn’t see the same thing he did. I still don’t completely but I’m getting there. Anxiety disorders not only emotionally impact you but also you’re loved ones who don’t understand why you feel the way you do.
Through communication we have reached a level of understanding and now are closer than ever and really comprehend each others feelings. If you have an anxiety disorder that is complicating your relationships the best thing you can do is be open and honest with the ones you love and explain it to them in depth. If people understand one another completely they can overcome anything.